Bambi at the Farm

How does a cow end up with the name Bambi, you may ask? Being a descendent of Evan's original cow BonBon, this new calf had to have a name starting with the letter B (that is the naming scheme at SapaSka Farms). But what about the name Bambi is particularly fitting for this calf? Well, I can remember part of that childhood movie when Bambi's legs get tied up when he is skating across some ice. Later, Bambi's father stands above him in the forest, saying "Get up, Bambi, get up." You see, this new calf has some trouble untying those new legs and standing on its own two feet. When she was in the womb her front legs were twisted, causing severe weakness and instability in her front legs and wrists. Unlike most calves who walk within a few hours of their birth, this calf hobbles around on bent legs and spends the rest of her time lying down. Evan assured me they have seen this before at their farm and the calf will outgrow it -- she just needs time to strengthen her legs and wrists.
Evan and I visited the farm the other weekend to meet his new calf Bambi. What a cutie!






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Halloween!

Evan and I enjoyed staying home on Halloween and passing out candy to the lil' trick-or-treaters. It was our first halloween where we could enjoy this tradition (or at least this end of it), as our apartment left us disappointed on Hallow's Eve these past two years. We were excited to have roughly 30 or 40 guests stop by! (I think. Evan knows the exact number). Enough to gobble most of our candy but not so many that we had to run to the store again.

We had been delinquent in our pumpkin carving this year so Halloween night we went at it, carving a face out of the pumpkin that had been sitting on our steps, ripening, for most of fall. ... And ripen it had. I do believe that was the first ROTTEN pumpkin I have ever carved! What a slimy halloween treat for us ; ) Needless to say, we forwent the pumpkin-seed roasting part of the tradition! We actually had two pumpkins but since we were pressed for time we decided to team up -- E carved the left side, I did the right. I think they turned out pretty similar actually.

No halloween is complete without a little costume fun! So Evan and I both gave ourselves just about three minutes to come up with costumes. As you can see below, I was a cowgirl. Evan was either some sort of god or a pimp. Perhaps next year we'll have to work longer on our costumes, but I think we did pretty well for just throwing things together!

Enjoy the photos below!



Wolf Ridge!

This is a long-overdue post! During a week in mid October my mom flew out to Minnesota to visit Evan and I, and then the three of us took a weekend trip up to Duluth and then Finland, Minnesota where Karrin is working as a Naturalist at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center. You may remember when Kirsten and I dropped her off earlier this August (two photos in collage are from that trip). It was great seeing Karrin in her new home, hearing tid-bits of nature lessons from her growing repertoire (identifying trees, handling birds, reenacting French explorers!), and sharing in her excitement of the great outdoors. We went on many little hikes (we weren't there long enough to tackle anything major), visited a teepee (we wanted to sleep in one but it was realllyyyy cold), and even completed the Ropes Course -- without falling! Although we were there just about a week or two after peak leaf-season, it was still beautiful. Enjoy some of my photos below, and then head on over to my picasa album for a full view.
Golden light near Gooseberry Falls
Colors near Gooseberry Falls
Gooseberry Falls
Karrin conquers the Ropes Course!
E & C in Duluth
Who's that Indian in my tee-pee?

Colors on Lake Pepin

Evan and I took a quick trip down to Lake City this past weekend to visit his family on the farm. We went down to Frontenac State Park overlooking Lake Pepin for a little hiking. It was beautiful! Below are some photos from our excursion.

Fall, fall, fall!

Fall on our street is quite beautiful -- burnt oranges and golds bedeck the ground and squirrels scurry about preparing for winter (I think we are the only ones who pay attention to the squirrels on our block!). I just finished my first round of leaf raking at the new house and think there will be more in the near future as the big tree in our neighbors yard still carries quite the load of leaves (which is surprising considering the thick carpet of leaves it has already laid down!). I was tempted to jump in the big pile at the end, but settled for simply lying back, nestled in the crinkling pillow of leaves, and looking up towards the darkening sky. Ahhh, I love the sounds, smells, and colors of fall.

I finally got around to taking some indoor photos so you can see the progress our house has made these past weeks. But of course I couldn't stop there on a nice fall day, so I ventured outside to snap a few of the street.


The Oberles

Here are a few photos I took of our good friends Marit and Tim earlier this fall. They are fellow St. Olaf '06 grads, got engaged the day after us, were married two weeks before us, and live 1.5 miles away from our new house in Minneapolis! Needless to say, we've enjoyed sharing in each others' lives, through dinner parties, coffee dates, cross country skiing outings, relaxing at the lake, and spontaneous pop-ins! They are wonderful friends and a fantastic couple (with the cutest house imaginable!). Here's a peak into the lives of the Oberles:

(I am still working out the kinks to incorporating a little logo with my photos, so please excuse any imperfections you may notice... like blurry and pixelated text. I also made a slideshow with a selection of some of my favorite photos and am in the process of figuring out how best to show that -- for free. So more updates may be coming soon!)

To view all of the photos from this shoot, check out my shutterfly site!



The Space We Live In

Imagine if you limited yourself to just one place and experience because nothing beyond those borders could be as perfect as where you are. It is great to love your home, but if that is your only somewhere, then there's a whole lot of nowhere out there.

During the whole move process Evan and I took some time to decompress and think about the changes we were going through. One of our final nights in Apple Valley we happened upon a little park I am sad we discovered so late in our time there. But we enjoyed laying back, looking at the stars, and pondering the importance and meaning of change in our life, especially the role of space in our move and how our new space will impact who we are, how we feel, and how we will interact with it and each other.

We think we know what to expect in the move (more space, less annoyances due to cramped space, etc.) but we don't really know until we are there living in it. I think that is what is scary about a move, but also what can be exciting -- learning how we will interact and be in this new space. Where in this new house will we create new routines? Where will we greet each other when we come home in the evening? Where will we go when we want time to ourselves? When we move we leave the established space for the unknown; we must embrace this and not shy away.

Too often we tie our identity to the space we are in, binding ourselves and limiting the space we are 'allowed' to explore. I think as humans we have a tendency to cling to space we know and understand. That's why so many people settle in one area of the country, or town, and never move. We come to identify ourselves by the birds that fly nearby, by the restaurants we frequent, by the accents of the people. There is nothing wrong with that -- it is great to be proud of where you're from and enjoy all the qualities that place has to offer. And it's natural to place your identity in those things. I too feel most myself when in a space of comfort, like riding my bike under a canopy of trees on the East Coast, relaxing on the beach to the sound of seagulls and waves, or hiking in the Black Hills.

But imagine if you limited yourself to just one place because of fear or pride, never opening yourself up to change and new experiences and the chance to see how you will develop in a new space. There is a lot of space out there to explore, all with its pros and cons, benefits and limitations; our job is finding how we can enjoy being in that space. My mom once told me that my dad is good at being himself no matter where he is -- from hiking in South Dakota to walking home from work on the crowded streets of New York City (and picking some discarded furniture up along the way!), he is always comfortable and finds adventure and whatever he needs to be happy. I truly believe we can make any space our own, we can find what we need if we keep out eyes open. I may miss the quieter countryside runs I've enjoyed while living in Apple Valley, but in the cities I can run around the lakes and enjoy being a part of that energy. I may miss our big apartment window and the views it boasted of the stars, but in the cities I can enjoy our own backyard and sitting on the front steps welcoming the morning.

After our discussion in the field that night, Evan and I decided we are going to embrace the change ahead and get out there and explore! I don't want to find myself discovering a new hidden field at our new house days before our next move -- I want to find it right away. Instead of worrying about how a space isn't the way I'm used to, I am going to find where I fit in that space and how I best resonate.

... and we're back in the game!

Yes, we're alive! Just very very busy. I cannot believe it has been 2 months since my last post! Oh well, I guess that's what happens when you get tied up in moving and working on a new house. For a while it seemed like every weekend our main focus was on something house oriented, whether it was finishing big projects like our shower, or smaller things like hanging blinds, organizing, and tackling some yard work. Just recently we have started to feel a bit more settled and can start taking time to enjoy some of our favorite hobbies -- like blogging!

And now for a quick summary on our life since my last post in July. As you probably know or realized from my previous posts/photos, we bought our house beginning of July but were still living in our apartment for a while. We didn't actually move into the house until July 31st... then we were off to an out-of-town wedding for the weekend, the following weekend was another wedding, and then we flew to New Jersey for 2 weeks of fun with my (Pearson) family! Back to Minnesota for the final week of August, which was spent with college friends in town, at the State Fair, another wedding, and driving my sister Karrin up to her new job/school experience up North. So.... we were basically living out of suitcases and boxes through most of August, and worked on our house intermittently. Evan did a great job on the shower, but it took (much) longer than we first anticipated. Luckily we belong to a gym which we frequented to use their showers... come to think of it, I think that's all I did at the gym for a few weeks ; )

Now Evan is back in school (Lakeville North High School, Chemistry and Forensic Science teacher -- recent recipient of the Blue Ribbon award!) and I am enjoying getting into a routine. One of the biggest developments to my routine will be playing in an orchestra that starts later this week! The Cannon Valley Regional Orchestra is all the way down in Northfield, and I am a bit hesitant to commit to a long commute every Thursday evening, but I figure I'll try it out this first semester and just see how it goes. I know there are more community orchestras in the area, but I am kind of excited to tap back into my Northfield roots. I think I'll take advantage of my time down there this fall and hit up the old St. Olaf cross country trails a few times!

Before I head out on a run this afternoon to enjoy some of our first fall weather, I will post a few videos and photos to help recap the last couple months:

House Progress Interview #3: getting close to moving day! / Having fun getting some "yard work" done ; )
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From left to right you get the general progression of the shower in its last couple stages. Of course before the cement board went up (as seen in photo at left) we had to tear down the old wall, don our plumbing hats and run pipes up to the shower -- this included soldering!, and prep the studs for the new cement board (I'm probably forgetting a few steps too). I am happy to say the shower is now up and running! Of course the rest of the bathroom is still a bit of a project, but at least we can shower in our own house -- what a luxury!


The next montage shows just a few snippets from our summer. From left to right, top to bottom you see:

Saying goodbye to Hearthstone Apartments, our first home; Visiting South Street Seaport in NYC; Sunfish Pond, the destination point on our hike in NJ where Max (dog) chased a bear and her cubs - and survived!; Evan 'stealing' eggs from the chicken coop at Howell Living History Farm, where Karrin was working in NJ; My favorite photo from our Pearson photo shoot; Kirst, Karrin and I on the chilly shores of Lake Superior in August!; E and I on our two year anniversary; E and I sharing some corn on the cob at the State Fair; Getting some yard work done...; Kirst and I up at Wolf Ridge, Karrin's new home for the year.

Many more updates to come, so stay tuned! I promise I'll be back before another 2 months have passed!

Getting Caught in the Rain

Would you choose to go camping even if the weatherman called for rain? Last night E and I started discussing our weekend options and whether or not we want to make amendments to our original plan, which entails a camping trip to Madeline Island, the largest of the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior, just off the shores of Bayfield, WI. However, the weather is supposed to be just so-so, with a good chance of rain. Although staying home would provide us more time to work on the house before the big move next week and surely keep us dry, the prospects of adventure and going away somewhere are beckoning us and far exceed our trepidation of getting caught in the rain. In fact, I don't really mind the rain; some of my best memories involve a sudden downpour, wedding showers, or some sort of inclement weather. Thus, the tail end of our conversation last night involved much memory retrieving and storytelling of some of our favorite getting-caught-in-the-rain moments. If you are anything like me, or maybe even if you aren't, I bet you have at least one great rainy memory. If not in recent days, perhaps back in your childhood when it was easier to let go of this societal fear of rain and enjoy the "basic elements of life" (Karrin Pearson, "The Wildness Within"). Letting down our inhibitions and enjoying nature around us, especially at its rainy core, lets us come alive as we are meant to be and brings out our "wildness within". Besides, a sudden downpour of rain adds adventure to any activity!

That being said, I am going to share with you one of my favorite getting-caught-in-the-rain stories and invite everyone to tell theirs in the comment section. I really love hearing stories so don't be shy!

It was summer, a few years ago, and dad and I headed out on our bikes to conquer the course that included the 'big hill' just out of Lambertville, NJ, landing us a good ways from home. We worked through that hill, but shortly on the other side, while coasting through the rolling hills of Hopewell, were suddenly -- you guessed it -- caught in a heavy downpour. You know you probably shouldn't be biking anymore when you notice an absence of the usual cars streaming along the road. If cars go into hiding until the storm passes, you probably should too. But we kept riding; a communion with one of the basic elements of life typically fought off by umbrellas and windshield wipers. Finally a loan car did drive by, sending a new tide of water our way. And as it sped up the next hill leaving us in its wake to fight the spray, I distinctly remember the words "you're crazy!" rolling back at us. Yes, perhaps so. But we thoroughly enjoyed our ride in the rain.

Here's a photo of dad and me after a ride... although not in the rain this time!
If we don't make it camping this weekend it won't be due to the weather forecast -- rather our moving date creeping up on us. Lots of painting left to do and a big tiling project!

House update

(Above montage includes photos from the first few weeks)

We've been busy working on the house... whew, can't wait for a day off tomorrow. We've crossed a whole slew of projects off our list this weekend, including some painting, screen-door installing, basement window installing, cleaning the dirtiest kitchen ever, and buying a new washer/dryer (so excited for our new energy-efficient front loader!). Well, we've done other stuff too, but those are the biggies I guess. Oh, we finally got our water turned on! YAY! So now we can clean our paint brushes on location and go to the bathroom! On Tuesday we are having a glass block window installed in our bathroom and after that we can begin tiling the walls. Hopefully we finish this project in time, otherwise we'll be showering at LA Fitness (our gym), haha. Enjoy the little recap video below!

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Here are some other fun little videos (sorry they are sideways, I don't know how to fix that):

Soldering the shower pipes!
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That wasn't really the first time I turned on the water... more like the second. The first time I was really nervous the pipes weren't going to hold and the water came out all sputtering due to the air in the pipes. I was at the house by myself, so good thing I didn't end up with a watery mess!

Cousins


Haiku:
Tostled hair and grins
Rolling through the 'vacant lot'
Happy summer days

Spurred from Jenna's blog post calling for Haiku entries, I decided to take a stab at the short Japanese poem. Above is a photo I took in Rapid City, South Dakota of three of my cousins as they enjoyed a good 10-minute laugh-a-thon in my grandparent's yard.

To view more photos from this impromptu photo shoot, check out my shutterfly site.

We're Homeowners!


Yes, we bought a house! We are really excited to be living in south Minneapolis, just a few blocks south of the Minnehaha Creek (which runs east/west through the city, partially accompanied by a bike trail, ending at the Falls), a short bike ride away from Lake Harriet, on a nice residential street, but still close to the Southdale Mall area and Highway 62! We closed on the house on July 1st and only had time that day to do a little cleaning and some electrical work -- but we did manage to lock ourselves out!! Haha, yes we did. Thankfully our house proved to be quite break-in friendly - exactly what you want in a house, right?; the basement windows are already hanging from their hinges in such a way that they have landed themselves near the top of our fix-it list. Today was our first day of really working on the house. We are grateful for all the help from both the Piersons and another Pearson -- my dad! Instead of explaining the events of the day here, I'll let these guys fill ya in:

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As mentioned in the video, we did find ourselves stranded at the house. Here's how it happened: Evan drove up to the house early this morning in our Focus. My dad and I came up later in his rental car. The Piersons drove up in their truck from Lake City. Later that afternoon we let Riley and Mary take our Focus so Riley could get to work (1.5 hours away in Lake City), forgetting I had come with my dad, who also left in the afternoon for his destination of Sioux Falls, SD (4 hours away). After finishing up on installing the front door, Denny took off for Lake City in his truck. It wasn't until some time later that we looked outside and realized there were no cars left!!! Hahhaa. So, in the past 3 days we have managed to get ourselves both lock out of and stranded at our new house. I hope this is some form of good luck! In case you were worried, we did manage to get home to our apartment in Apple Valley thanks to Tessa (E's other sister) who is now living in St. Paul. We are planning on fixing up the house a bit throughout July as we have our apartment until August 1. This will provide for a nice, easy move -- or so we hope!

Tomorrow is the 4th of July so we plan on taking it a bit easy. Although Evan still seems to have plans of installing basement windows? ... oh boy.

Old Post Photo Updates

In case you are interested in meeting my "Marley", I added photos to my "Puppy Love" post. I also added a photo to the end of my Caribbean Cadence travel essay.

More from St. Louis!

I finally finished editing my photos from Kirsten's graduation weekend in St. Louis and uploaded them to my shutterfly website (the newest photos are at the end of the album). I will probably upload them to myphotoalbum as well since that website enables high res. digital downloads (of course most of you already have all of these in the "dropbox"). Here are a few more photos from that fun celebratory weekend:


Cannon Valley Trail Adventures

Evan and I ventured down to the Cannon Valley Trail over Memorial Day weekend for a butt-buster of a ride: 40 miles! Well, I know plenty of people who have completed more than that, but we both found 40 miles to be enough to make our butts hurt! We actually rode the same trail a few years ago on less adequate bikes, so now that we finally had our road bikes ready to go we were itching to try it again. It was a lot smoother this time, and we just flew over those paved trails along the Cannon Valley River from Cannon Falls to Red Wing, then back again. We rode right past Welch Ski Village -- the site of our wedding reception almost 2 years ago. Unfortunately no wedding was going on that day or else we would have had fun poking around ; ) Even with sore butts Evan was already talking about a bike ride the next weekend. Perhaps we'll check out the Stillwater trail one of these days. I grew up riding with my dad on the country roads of New Jersey (and for those of you who are wondering -- yes, there is country in NJ). But the roads in Minnesota are so much more open, flat, windy, and just less inspiring. So I imagine E and I will be hitting up many of the trails in the area instead. Here are a few pictures from our excursion:

                                 Camp Pearson???                                                          COWS!

Surprise Date #1

Evan and I decided it would be fun to take turns coming up with date ideas and surprising each other. Although we have fun adventures pretty regularly, there is something special about planning a date and watching it unfold as the other (in this case Evan) tries to figure it out. This past weekend I was the mastermind behind our plans -- and how clever I was. I decided to take Evan down to Red Wing, a town close to his hometown of Lake City. Even when we arrived in town he had no idea what we were going to do! He practically lived in this town compared to me far off in New Jersey, but yet I was able to find an activity he had never done before... but I'll get to that later. We first ate dinner at the St. James Hotel on a lovely little patio overlooking the river. I highly recommend this place as the food was very reasonably priced ($8 for a chicken salad croissant and sweet potato fries and about the same for Evan's burger) and it was delicious! The St. James is actually the hotel where we spent our wedding night, so it was kind of special stopping by again. After dinner we started walking along the river and I knew I was looking for a certain park for our final activity, but couldn't find it! So finally I asked for Evan's assistance in finding Bay Point Park and when we got there E discovered we were going to watch Toy Story at an outdoor theater! Funny thing is Evan's date idea was a drive-in movie theater -- looks like I snagged that idea first ; )  The movie was fun even though we got awfully cold. We brought 4 blankets, 2 towels, and were wearing sweatshirts and jeans, yet after an hour and a half of sitting on the ground we were really looking forward to some hot chocolate. We both highly recommend Cinema Under that Stars at Bay Point Park -- their next movie is The Sandlot, showing in a few weeks.

Recipe: Grandpa's Granola


I recently started making my own granola because it is so dang expensive in the store and I like deciding exactly what I want in it -- types of nuts, dried fruit, etc. My grandpa gave me this recipe and it is so good that even Evan has confessed a newfound fondness for the snack. I eat it over plain yogurt with a drizzle of honey.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Mix together:
2 cups dry Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
2 cups dry 7 Grain Cereal (your choice, as long as it is a grainy flake cereal)
1 cup Flaxseed Meal (there's my flax friend again!)
1 cup All Bran Extra Fiber (I think I just used regular All Bran)
1 cup shredded Coconut (optional)
1/2 cup Brown Sugar

Drizzle over the top of the dry ingredients, then mix together evenly:
1/2 cup Canola Oil
1/4 cup Honey

Toast in oven at 400 degrees, stirring every 2-3 minutes until evenly browned (about 10-15 minutes, but watch it because the sugar burns easily. Sometimes I toast a few of the nuts too). As soon as it is removed from the oven, stir in the variation of dried fruit and nuts, and mix well. While cooling, stir every 5-10 minutes. Store in a tightly covered container - we bought one of those slick Oxo containers with the pop top at the Container Store (but I'm sure many other stores carry them too).

Dried Fruit/Nut Variations:
1. 1 cup chopped Almonds (I've used slivered too)
    1 cup Craisins/dried cranberries (I've added raisins too)

2. 1 package dried Tropical Fruits
    1 cup chopped Walnuts

3. 1 cup Raisins
    1 cup slivered or chopped Pecans

4. 1 cup Unsalted Peanuts
    1 package dried blueberries

5. 1 cup chopped Pecans
    1 cup chopped dried Apricots

6. 1 cup chopped Walnuts
    1-1 1/2 cup dried Bananas




Recipe: Bran Flax Muffins

Some may say I'm obsessed with flax meal. Perhaps I am -- I eat it daily and try and put it in almost everything I bake. Here's a great recipe I found on the back of my flax meal bag (Bob's Red Mill). I still love the traditional bran muffin, but this is a fun embellishment on the old favorite.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups Unbleached White Flour
3/4 cup Flaxseed Meal
3/4 cup Oat Bran
1 cup Brown Sugar
2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt (I cut back a bit here)
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 1/2 cups Carrots, shredded (Evan had fun putting our food processor to work!)
2 Apples, peeled and shredded (once again, food processor came in handy!)
1/2 cup Raisins (optional)
1 cup Nuts, chopped (we did pecans)
3/4 cup Milk
2 Eggs, beaten
1 tsp. Vanilla

Directions:
Mix together flour, flaxseed meal, oat bran, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.
Stir in carrots, apples, raisins (if desired) and nuts.
Combine milk, beaten eggs and vanilla.
Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients.
Stir until ingredients are moistened. Do not over mix.
Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Yields 15 medium muffins.

Kirsten Graduates!

Two weekends ago I was down in St. Louis celebrating the graduation of my sister Kirsten from Washington University -- yay for the new architect! I remember when she was little she often sat with our grandpa (also an architect) watching him work at his desk, and then at home, she had a protractor and other various archy supplies tucked safely in her own desk. When on long car trips (which happened annually as we drove to South Dakota from NJ -- a 3 or 4 day trip!) we often passed the time by drawing up dream floor plans; I usually focused on the window seat/reading nook in my bedroom while she sketched an entire house complete with the appropriate symbols that mark doorways, windows, etc. So this accomplishment has been a long way coming. Congratulations Kirsto -- glad I could celebrate with you! Below are a few photos from the festivities, but check out my shutterfly website to view more!



The Graduate!


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